In this modern age of technology, Social Media has slowly and steadily evolved to dominate all sectors of human society. From political elections to radical movements, to becoming a beaming light of care and support to those subjected to unjustified cruelty – it has become a part of many revolutionary changes in the society.
Social media has been the backbone of several changes in the humankind, be it good or bad. It was the reason that 22 million trees were planted over the course of a year and more; it was also the reason an Indian comedian was asked to show up in the court for a harmless, albeit very much real, comment. It was the reason that millions of people were marching on the streets of America in support of coloured Americans.
An inherent resistive quality of Human Beings
Human beings are creatures of nature and are supposed to run free and wild. Any sort of policing brought upon us does not sit right and an inherent habit of resistance spills out whenever we are being cuffed and bounded. Since time immemorial, there has been a man-made boundary all around the circle of freedom, which has been policed and controlled as per the likings of a few or of the masses.
The World Wide Web, when it was first released, was supposed to be an open platform for everyone to come and interact with each-other and for things and people to exist without being judged or controlled against their wishes. People could do whatever they wanted and could say what they liked and there was no one to stop or adjust their words in support of the other. And in a few years, we started to see dedicated platforms where people could come together and interact with each other and express themselves – these later evolved to become a part of social media.
Being logically sane and having a conscience, we abide by the basic rules of humanity which requires us to treat others as you would like to be treated and to not cause harm to other human beings. This idea however gets pushed beyond the point on social media and the internet. People spew all kinds of venomous words on each other, spreading hatred and negative feelings, which also is an inherent quality of human beings – to be hateful towards those who are better than you or towards those who are below you. Human beings are conditioned to work that way. And when a group of people try to control and regulate this inherent quality of ours, we resist.
Just a case of policing Free Speech or restricting the reality from coming to light?
As time passes, human beings evolve into becoming more and more mature and logically adept. We have become beings that speak when wrong is happening and react to it. Gone are the days of Gandhi Ji when we were supposed to blind our eyes, deafen our ears and mute our mouths towards all that is bad. We react and we speak about it, especially on social media platforms.
Nowadays, when we hear of journalists, artists, poets, students and comedians getting arrested for speaking the truth about the government on social media, we are left shocked and puzzled. A place that was supposed to be free and unregulated is now policed not only by the respective companies but also by the government. India’s central government, BJP, is notoriously known for its uncontrolled actions of restricting all forms of media that speaks against the wrongs that the government does. From arresting reporters and journalists to arresting students and activists to suing comedians, the policing on social media has gone out of hands.
For minorities in India, governement’s actions and decisions seem very similar to the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler; and for the youth, the situation seems very much the same on social medias. When the world first came to know about CIA keeping a track of all Americans – it left us all surprised but the reality has thus settled in deep within us. Each of us are tracked and controlled, our free speech is regulated and minimized, our freedom of expression is policed.
Every human being has the right to express themselves and to exercise their right to speech in fullness of it. Social media companies may abide to universal humane ideas, but governments interfering into it is unjustified and uncalled for. As Tim Berners-Lee wanted the internet to be free and unpoliced, it should be very much like that.
Yusuf Aziz is a student pursuing English Literature from Jamia Millia Islamia.
Edited by: Nuzhat Khan
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Jamia Review or its members.